Like many body positive babes, my fat fashion began with retro and rockabilly fashion. Figure hugging and oh-so glamorous, if you're feeling insecure about your body, this style can make you feel completely feminine and sexy. Much, though not all, of this trend relies on the hourglass figure-nipped in waisted, wide hips and heaving bosom. At that point in my life it felt perfect for me-I was going through puberty and had found a way to feel good in my 'new' body. As I've gone through University and into my twenties, I've tried many different ways of dressing and been many different sizes. Until the past year or so, I've always been a feminine dresser- I love youthful retro fashion, especially 1960s looks, and have had many a dress over the year. Since coming out as queer in 2015, I've been thinking more about how I present myself. When 'in the closet' part of the way I dressed was to mask any possible indications of my sexuality. While stereotypes are ridiculous, in my mind I was scared that if I stepped away from swooshing skirts and plunging necklines and towards items more stereotypically assigned to queerness, I'd be rumbled somehow (silly, I know). Since coming out, I definitely feel more free in how I can express myself. Gender wise, I do identify strongly as female, but I feel less pressure to dress in certain ways. Some days I still want to ooze femininity and girlishness, and others it feels like the last thing I want to do. While I've been trying new things fashion-wise, I discovered something I'd been ignorant too before- finding plus size clothing that isn't traditionally 'girly' is hard!
I feel like this is really something that should be addressed. For some, like myself, it's a question of taste and style, but the issue runs deeper. We need plus size clothing for people of all gender identities-more options need to be available. We don't just come as 'men' and 'women' and fashion should start to reflect that.
Below are some of the items I've found (but not necessarily purchased) that could be considered as a step away from the feminine norm. Some of them are merely items that are not floral, while others may have less of an hourglass shape, or be used alongside other items for a more gender neutral aesthetic. This is from the view of a cisgender woman and influenced by my personal tastes in fashion. I have also ensured that all items are below £35 in order to be more accessible to different incomes.
If, like me, you love plaid and flannel shirts, you'll know that sometimes they can be hard to find in larger sizes. I swear by these shirts by Yours Clothing-they come in a whole load of different colours and checks, all in the same amazing cut, though I do hate the term 'boyfriend' in fashion (damn you, heteronormativity!).
Many of these style shirts at Yours have popper fastenings which, as a speedy dresser, I love! As well as wearing these buttoned up, another way to wear is wearing them open with t shirts underneath- a fave fashion trend of mine is clashing patterns and I love experimenting with different prints to compliment the plaid! The cut of these shirts are perfect for me on days where I don't want to project a 'figure-of-eight' body type, and I usually wear them with skinny jeans.These are great for casual wear and day-to-day looks, and are well priced!
Looking for evening wear or formal fashion when plus size can be a nightmare. I find gowns and elaborate dresses both intimidating and not at all 'me' (while many women really rock these looks!). If you're not one for tea dresses or velvet fishtails, it's easy to feel lost and frustrated shopping for events.
If you're looking for a sharp alternative, some plus size stockists have all you need to suit up! One of my style icons is the incredible Janelle Monae, and while not plus size, I adore her way of dressing. The sheerness of this chiffon Yours Clothing shirt does makes it feel more feminine, but I love the neck tie, and feels fancy without being too decorative. I think this, along with a blazer (like this New Look number) and these amazing New Look High Waisted Trousers are a winning comination!
Denim is undoubtedly cool. It's versatile, customisable and goes great with so many different items. With the recent 70s trend, denim can be found almost everywhere and there's styles for all kinds of tastes. Dungarees are really high on my wishlist at the moment, for their versatility and sheer awesomeness. New Look do some brilliant jackets, and I love this black denim jacket. Jackets are one of my favourite garments, but I really struggle to find styles other than flower-adorned waterfall blazers- for me denim jackets are both casual and comfortable but stylish. This denim shirt is a beauty as well! Yours Clothing also offer denim shirts in various shades, for a good price.
Jumpsuits are another alternative to a dress. Jumpsuits offer a simple luxury that dresses do- they are an 'all in one' item that you can simply throw on and get going (always a plus for me!)
This ASOS Curve Jumpsuit is so cute- I love the peg-leg detail and the slouchy, casual aesthetic. This looks so comfortable while easy to accessorise to make your own. My favourite detail of this is the drawstring waist, meaning you can make the fit baggier if you don't want the cinched look. This jumpsuit from Yours Clothing is more feminine in cut than the ASOS garment, but I personally would team it with a blazer or open shirt over the top, and low converse, for a casual sort of style! Jumpsuits can be difficult to find for a low budget, but they will most likely be making a comeback for summer so I hope that we'll have more options soon!
Plus size T-shirts in less traditionally feminine styles can be surprisingly hard to find! Many of the choices are either plain basic T-shirts or hanky hems with floral designs, and not much inbetween. I love the eyelet detail in this ASOS Curve T-shirt, and think it would look badass with skinnies and ankle boots. I'm a sucker for a Raglan tshirt and this would look great with most things (I'd love to see it with a pair of dungarees) and stripes are always a YES for me. When I have days where I want to feel fashion-forward but not confine myself to polka dots or chintzy florals (which I can love on other days!) stripes are always my go-to. Forever chic and easy to coordinate. Also, the fact that it is a twin pack for that price is pretty good.
Personally I'd love to see more of these styles in plus size clothing stores, as well as wider gender representation. What are your favourite items? I'd love to know!